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Who dipped me?
I didn't see it but I know they robbed me!

This was a topic brought up in another thread but I didn't want to take that thread further off topic. For reference though:

https://sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/ideas/sleaze-sneak-counterpart-2958/

On the one hand, some suggest that in order to know a dip dipped you, you have to receive the game's messaging saying you noticed it. Others suggest that they think it's fine to just assume based on which named characters they've seen and how they acted between last knowing the thing was there and realizing it is now gone.

I personally think it's a mix of the two. Like a lot of things it,s shades of gray in my eyes.How I try and approach it:

Consider ambient population. If you 'l direction' you get a message about how much ambient population is in that direction. It can range from bustling to nobody.

If I am in a room with no ambient population and know I have my flashlight, someone comes in then leaves and I no longer have my flashlight, I think it's fair to assume they took it. From the PC's perspective the field is severely limited. I might very well be wrong in my assumption but I see no reason why I couldn't assume.

Outside of this, however, I would do my best to have my PC remain ignorant should they notice things missing. If my character entered any room with ambient population between the time I knew I had the flashlight and the time I notice it missing, I will have my PC be clueless. Even if they only encountered one named character. I do this because there were many, many other people about so ICly I don't think my character has reason to suspect the named character specifically.

But what if I saw that named character was hiding or in a poncho? Well, I still try and keep my PC ignorant. Ponchos abound and plenty of people in a dangerous city will try and go unnoticed. I personally feel my PC doesn't have enough to go on.

At the same time, players can have their PCs make any assumptions they want really. While I am sure there are some very outlandish cases where GMs will get involved and slap someone's wrist for this kind of thing, staff has chosen to largely remove themselves from the question of IDing people. While I have seen reminders about small worlding, it gets fuzzy when it comes to IDing characters and I wouldn't want to trust to this for protecting my character's identity.

I would say, however, that this assuming can go very wrong. I've seen it happen on many occasions. I once watched a pair of PCs go from close friends to hated enemies over an item stolen by an unseen third party. Just because one chose to assume their friend did it. Even though they had been very crowded places and it could have been anyone.

That's my take on this one. I'd be curious to know what others think on the matter of assumptions, stealth, disguise and ambient population.

"If I am in a room with no ambient population and know I have my flashlight, someone comes in then leaves and I no longer have my flashlight, I think it's fair to assume they took it. From the PC's perspective the field is severely limited. I might very well be wrong in my assumption but I see no reason why I couldn't assume."

There are a lot of situations where players and characters can (and will) have different information and make different decisions, and where the line between the two is is often not clear and remains up to players to decide. Certainly players can do whatever they like in these situations since there is no policing of identification, players can be entirely metagaming or entirely playing to their character and it's up to them.

Should they though? Well, possibly not.

In this very specific scenario there is actually an additional bit of meta information for a player to consider when transposing what they think they know, onto what their character knows, which is that in this situation (and a few other types with similar 'do I know' checks) the player themselves knows their character has just failed a skill check to be aware of what happened.

Say for a moment that the game worked differently and there was no hidden skill checks, that the game was explicit to the player what their character had failed at and they see 'X stole Y from you, but your character didn't notice it'. In that scenario it would be much more obvious when a player decides to override what their character knows in favour of what they know and says instead 'well actually I am choosing to notice it' and plays based on that.

I think it is more clear in that context how sometimes players can push the boundaries of what their character should really be aware of, despite what the game is telling them. This is likewise often true of players complaints about characters being able to stealth into locked rooms alongside them, which are usually presented as 'but I would know if someone was coming through a doorway with me, or someone was in a small room with me'... but of course their characters didn't know, because they didn't have the stats or skills to know, but the player nonetheless feels they the player should not be constrained by those limitations.

It is not easy to learn to limit playing abilities, especially ones we feel we've earned through hard work and dedication and experience, to play to stat limitations that constrict those abilities, especially when those abilities involve meta understanding or meta knowledge of the game and its players. At one time identifying someone for a plot purpose was a major triumph to me as a player, now it is often trivial. A one time identification of a character whose player I could recognize in my sleep is pretty much the worst thing I ever did as a player and I've regretted it ever afterwards. I am almost always trying to ignore now what I know as a player, because what does it really do but mess up someone's earned success?

Eventually it's no real win to deduce something that happened, and who was responsible. And there are plenty of scenarios where there is no skill check about what you can and can't know about players to act as guidance so it's really entirely up to player discretion about what they should do, but I think it's best practice to at least make the attempt to limit themselves to the constraints of their characters and not rationalize exceptions.

I'll just say this; if you don't want to be suspected, don't be suspicious. Succeeding your stealth or pickpocket checks does not excuse you from being shady. Metagaming about who has what skills or whatever is obviously just that, metagaming, but seeing a shroud act shady and assuming they are why your shit is missing is totally reasonable to me.
That's one way to view it I suppose, but I think players (especially new players) should keep in mind we're all suspicious. We know we're playing a somewhat competitive, adversarial game with hostile actions and there is only ever maybe active 1 to 8 players in proximity in the busiest situations.

It is certainly an elegant skill of the very best and most experienced players to be able to veil their intentions and actions even from other players, to create disguises that no one can even suspect might be a disguise, to do something invisibly even under the microscope of a tiny world that is constantly watching.

Should that be the minimum standard for someone to succeed? I don't think so myself, and I think many players would be surprised to know how many times their successes relied on someone else deciding they didn't know something.

if you don't want to be suspected, don't be suspicious. Succeeding your stealth or pickpocket checks does not excuse you from being shady.

What do you mean by being suspicious or being shady? Is the very act of wearing a poncho/hood or sneaking/hiding enough in your opinion? Or do you mean the way someone talks/emotes/poses? I'm sure the answer isn't simple or black and white but I have a hard time imagining what you mean here. Would you be willing to give and example?

I think it should be acknowledged that disguises are used because people don't want their identity to be clear and that is inherently suspicious. You can explain that away in a million different ways, but it is nonetheless a suspicious act in comparison to the baseline of showing your face. Yes, there can be a lot of hooded people and shrouded people in Red, because it is the most criminal sector and there are a lot of people with enemies, and sometimes that's just why people are disguised. If you want to be disguised without people wondering why you don't want to show your face, invest in the disguise skill enough to present alternate personas instead of demanding others look the other way on principle.

In so many words: being reasonably suspicious of disguised people isn't meta, assuming their real identity is meta. Killing every shroud you see isn't reasonable, but considering them as suspects for the Bad Things happening certainly is.

Scenario One: You are a local crime boss. You have way too many enemies to count. People want to kill you just about every time you show your face outside. You notice there's a shrouded individual standing outside your apartment/office/wherever, and that they've stayed there for quite some time. Is it smallworlding to be understandably paranoid that they're waiting to kill you? Nine times out of ten, that's an NPC memento, but I've seen plenty of players roleplay their paranoia (knowingly or unknowingly) and hire a solo to evict the loitering individual (with words, first, and then wrestling or beatings later, not just a cold-blooded bushwhack and necksnap). Maybe they really were just standing there because they wanted to, maybe they were waiting for a friend, but they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's just how life is in Red sometimes.

Scenario Two: This is what started the argument in the previous thread. You are in a bar chatting with your friends. You notice a shroud come in. No big deal. Shroud says nothing, doesn't seem to interact with anyone, and then suddenly disappears. You didn't even see them leave. Considering you were aware enough to notice them enter, is it not suspicious that you couldn't even notice that they were leaving? Is it not suspicious that they didn't even seem to interact with anyone or order a drink? Even if you explain it away as something completely thematic, such as a solo swinging by to silently scan the crowd for a mark (which does happen as well) it is still suspicious behavior compared to the baseline of coming to social places for social interactions and drinks

For the Mixer Math to follow, you have Bad Things plus Suspicious People equals Assumptions. You might have just swung by to check out the crowd for a mark as a solo, but if someone notices that their shit is missing, they could very well assume your shady ass is the pickpocket and try to follow you. Or, maybe you did steal their shit, and instead of acting cool, you acted shady, and now they're wondering who that shrouded hulking femboy was. In my opinon, that's on you for being shady.

Thanks for explaining in more detail. I won't claim to agree with you on every point but I certainly respect your take on things. Even if I completely disagreed (which I don't) , it's not my place to declare things 'right' or 'wrong' here. :)

I think it's fine to assume that you notice a named character in a poncho more than you notice the three others in the ambient crowd. The game says you see them by explicitly telling you you see them. They stand out or the game wouldn't point them out. I do tend to try and not make a big deal of it until they do more than exist as a person in a shroud but I agree it can depend on a lot of factors. Like, does your character have reason to think they are being hunted? Are they loitering? Are you in hostile territory?

There was one part I have a hard time with, and I'm not saying your take is wrong. I just have a hard time explaining this in a way that adds up in my own head.

is it not suspicious that you couldn't even notice that they were leaving?

How does one notice that they didn't notice something? I know we OOCly notice that our PC didn't notice something but would a person ICly be aware that they didn't see/hear/notice a thing? My personal take is that people don't notice the things they don't notice so I have my characters act accordingly as best as I can.

But I am very curious how you see this Batko. How do you, from the IC perspective of your character, notice you don't notice something? Is this something you've experienced IRL?

'X stole Y from you, but your character didn't notice it'

I think this is very interesting. I've never considered it but maybe it would be easier for players to know what things they can assume their characters do and don't notice if the game explicitly stated it instead of just not mentioning it. I've never considered this angle before!

Regarding my question to Batko, I did come up with one scenario so far that works...

Someone comes in. I see they came in. I go to look at them. I can't find them anywhere. Where did they go? I just saw them a moment ago?

I think when this happens I would think things like...

Are they lost in the crowd? Did they leave while I glanced left for half a moment and I not notice?

I'm not sure I'd immediately assume they were suspicious but I do not live in an environment like our SD characters live in so I can't say if I might think differently in those circumstances.

How does one notice that they didn't notice something? I know we OOCly notice that our PC didn't notice something but would a person ICly be aware that they didn't see/hear/notice a thing? My personal take is that people don't notice the things they don't notice so I have my characters act accordingly as best as I can.

I understand that can be difficult to wrap your head around when thinking about it from a text standpoint, but if you've ever been talking to someone in real life, not looking directly at them, just to turn around and see that they're gone, you could likely understand what I mean. You can notice you didn't notice something, by realizing something has changed without your direct observation of it. Depending on the situation, it can be quite startling. Just as you can notice someone was standing there without you having seen them move into that position, you can notice they've left that position without you having seen them leave.

And, yes, it can be reasonable to think that they got lost in a crowd (however, not every bar in Red is always [CROWDED]) or that you simply didn't catch it, but the fact that you did see them enter in the first place should be enough to give you some indication that it is strange that you didn't spot them leaving.

It can backfire just as much as it helps. Maybe they never left in the first place and they are simply hiding, and you go looking for them like an idiot, leaving them in the bar holding your wallet. Or maybe you assume they're hiding and you waste all your time searching the room and they're already half way to the next bar.

I guess that, for me, it comes down to the situation as it so often does.

If I was talking to them and poof, they're gone, for sure I get noticing that. But If I say them come in, looked at them chatted with two other people then eventually noticed they were gone, I'd personally be tempted to have my PC not take any special notice of it.

Now that I think of it, I kind of want to examine the room descriptions to see if places like bars/clubs mention people coming and going regularly. If it's assumed that there is a flow coming and going then I would once again be more inclined not to notice not noticing them depart or hide. Was probably one of the many in the flow and my PC just didn't take note.

I think that, for me, a few takeaways so far are:

1. It's almost always very situational to me. Sometimes it makes sense to notice and assume, sometimes less so.

2. I'm not ever going to be comfortable telling someone that their character should not notice something the game says they see. Or force them to see/hear things the game doesn't say is happening.

3. Assumptions are a character's prerogative but they can do as much harm as good. As they should.

"...being reasonably suspicious of disguised people isn't meta, assuming their real identity is meta..."

No, this is not the case, this is just the element that so many combatant player characters tend to argue about between themselves. Metagaming is player's understanding of how the game works, transposed upon a character to create (usually advantageous) outcomes that wouldn't have occurred from in-world understanding. Because the game world is necessarily so much simpler and easier to analyze than the setting it is emulating, this meta understanding can be extremely powerful and creates an opportunity for players to make their characters (regardless of how actually intelligence or perceptive they are) impossibly insightful, and analytical, and deductive.

"You are a local crime boss. You have way too many enemies to count. People want to kill you just about every time you show your face outside. You notice there's a shrouded individual standing outside your apartment/office/wherever, and that they've stayed there for quite some time. Is it smallworlding to be understandably paranoid that they're waiting to kill you?"

Yes, actually. I can only see these scenarios as representative of a breakdown between character and player, where the threats against a character become threats against a player's own self, and the player's wants and understanding and awareness becomes the character's in turn. Everything the game tells a player is not something a character sees, knows, or could reasonably parse, and players trying to extract advantages in this way is inevitably going to lead to bad overall outcomes for the game as a whole in my opinion. Is this approach to the game permitted? Yes. Would this almost certainly lead to inter-player drama and stagnation and characters being isolated from the roleplaying ecosystem out of pressures to win and avoid any loss? Also yes.

There's nothing to grasp at and protect, there is no win, it's all pretend. The maximal effort of every player interpreting everything they're given to attain advantages or protect against slights is not going to create an atmosphere of good roleplaying.

For the 'are shrouds suspicious' conversation, I'd take the IC training on this one:

A shroud by itself isn't suspicious. A shroud behaving suspiciously is suspicious.

And suspicious behavior in a shroud is amplified or lessened depending on sector. What's suspicious on Green (walking around an apartment area with a shroud on, seemingly following someone specific for a length with some other factors thrown in), isn't all that suspicious on Gold and is going to be even less suspicious on Red. Because you increase the ambient number of ponchos and hoods there as well as decrease the sector security each level you go down, while the overall population rises.

Also I think we need to step away from the overall thought of 'disguises are used because they don't want their face recognized and that's inherently suspicious' (I didn't pull the direct quote, sorry if it's different, I had this reply copied to paste and didn't want to lose it and I'm in a rush). Wigs and contacts exist to hide faces and are part of the disguise system, and for a long time we had to go through a whole period of people across all sectors trying to use wigs and contacts as a reason to say someone is up to no good. Wigs and contacts are disguise items, yes, we know that on an OOC level that they help bump the disguise score. But in a world built on looks and aesthetic, millions of people are going to be wearing contacts or wigs at one point just for the look. I'd really like us not to go back to people thinking someone wearing contacts (how would you even know if you don't know them???) means someone needs questioned or is a problem.

To reply to Crash: I agree about wigs, I generally meant that about face-hiding disguises. In my post I point out that if you want people to not wonder why you are disguised, who you're hiding from, who you're trying to screw over, you should be investing in Disguise significantly enough to be using the appropriate disguises to present an alternative persona instead of being a shady poncho.
The problem with IC training, in my opinion, is that it's almost entirely the opinions of IC characters who all have a slant. Even NPCs, though controlled by staff, have their own agendas and biases. I honestly feel people give way too much value to IC opinions, especially that of PCs who represent a tiny subset of the population but are given a ton more weight.

If an IC source told my character something wasn't suspicious, should be a certain way or is a certain way, my character would strongly question the motivations of that source. I personally find IC sources the lest reliable regarding how the in game world is!

We could go back to all identity obscuring objects are illegal objects topside sectors if you want.

Sometimes ic training is absolutely a boon to the game and to stop metaing/smallworlding.

I think if you spoke to players who are consistent users of shrouds or other like minded objects, changes last year opened up opportunities and made behavior more normal which is healthier longterm for the game. And that came from an ic change and training.

It's a little funny and also problematic if shrouds on Gold bars are getting less suspicion thrown their way than the same identical scenarios in Red.

The point of my posts and bringing up ic training on this was basically to boil down: shrouds existing aren't suspicious in basically all common sectors. They have to be doing suspicious behavior to be suspicious. It's a good method to live by so not to smallworld and meta, and I think that decision by staff has helped improve stuff for shady characters.
Absolutely, the mere existence of disguise objects are not an excuse for players to start trying to pierce the veil and use their game knowledge to get a 'win' over someone. If anything veteran players and staff should be setting the example that the opposite is true: What can we do to enable something that is otherwise difficult because it's so typically something players will sabotage if given half a chance.

Players can make any excuse to themselves why something could have been construed as suspicious to them to justify their actions, because we fundamentally know that everyone is being encouraged to create conflict between one another. There is always a reason to strangle things in the crib rather than let them play out but that doesn't make for interesting storytelling beyond 'I won a lot and then got bored'.

I've spoken about thievery at length in the past. I really, truly do not like the way in which this skill--which is honestly great on paper--is implemented in the game. We had a very good conversation last night about the skill in XOOC, and I wanted to contribute my thoughts here for posterity.

Dipping has several major game impacting effects, all of which are very seriously negative to overall game health. I'll try and be short and to the point here for the sake of brevity.

Stealing promotes a culture of people not carrying things, which makes doing things like being a street thug and mugging people often a complete and total waste of time, especially compared to the high risk of the activity.

Stealing is extremely damaging to people maintaining a presence in social hubs and public spaces, and often deliberately rewards a dip going to a club or event and playing pocket raider with numerous people - something people are very keenly aware of, and which hampers the overall RP environment of the game.

You're allowed, or even encouraged to farm money off other players with the skill in a way that is completely out of alignment with most other game direction when compared to other ways of doing similar things. The help farming text file almost openly encourages dipping everything with a pulse (so long as it's a player.)

Now I mentioned liking the skill on paper, and I do, but I think that it could be made much better if it had some serious restrictions placed on it, and in trade, had other existing restrictions lifted.

-Restrict dipping to a handful of obvious dipping target items. Wallets, money, phones, jewelry, electronics, etc. Dipping crowbars, giant medical bags and helmets is immersion breaking, bad for balance, and again, leads to this culture of 'can't lose what I ain't got, yo.'

-Codedly limit the number of times the verb can be used per day to a small number, like 3-5. Encourage dip players to scout, recon, and choose their targets wisely, and get rid of the optimized gameplay of smashing the verb button on 45 immies. It's both toxic and non-interactive.

-Remove the restriction on dipping MONEY from NPC's with the help farming rules. It's literally on the income cap system, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to dip NPC's instead of running crates if you want to push theme (it also opens you to risk, and could make topside life much more interesting.) The farming rules are redundant and limit the skill considering it's hard-coded to be balanced otherwise. If there's a coded cap on uses per day, that also solves other balance concerns regarding NPC's.

-I can't stress this enough, please consider broadening the way the skill checks are rolled for detection. Past a certain skill level, this skill becomes almost entirely non-interactive.

-Under no circumstances should you be able to dip while in combat, or dip someone else who is in combat or aiming. While it's a pretty slick thing for players to do, it is really, seriously broken in ways few other things still are in the game.

If these changes are made to restrict and limit the scope of the skill, then I think a substantive cultural change could be made for those who play dips to improve their quality of life. If a dip can, in good faith, argue that all they did was steal a few phones, then the culture of snapping dip necks can be addressed, and players trying to break into the skill can have a hell of a lot more breathing space from the ire of other players. People hate this skill because it's abusive as hell, and that, in my mind, is a big part of why people come down so hard on dips. Improve the mechanical realities of the skill, and then we can start talking about not murdering or blackballing known dips for taking a skill.

I've never been killed for dipping. I think some responses are disproportionate to the crime but people tend to get over it. I find thievery to be fun and the risk to reward factor has been about what I would expect. I would argue against limiting theft to cellphones and wallets on the grounds that keeping a briefcase or an item of similar dimensions in your pocket is equally immersion breaking.
I don't think it's very controversial to say that the skill, outside of people being noobs or playing to lose, is largely non-interactive, and that, by and large, is a huge part of the problem with it.

I hope that the older culture of going hard on dips changes, but that culture seems to have developed organically because of the actual mechanical realities of the skill. It's not a 'play fair' skill, both because of it's non-interactivity, and because there's simply so many possible layers of safety net to make doing it one of the safest and lowest-investment get rich quick schemes in the game.

I really do think that rate limiting the skill mechanically could open up a world of new and much more interesting possibilities for the skill. If I could wave a wand and tweak it, that'd be my prime pick. Let's beat up and PVP people who have the means, IC and OOC knowledge of how to respond and play into it. Yoinking shit from immies is, in my mind, one of the larger factors for people not sticking around in the game -- and yet the skill heavily incentivizes you to punch down as hard as possible.

As I said in my previous post, there's some pretty major misalignment with the skill and the overall direction that we try and push for PVP activities in basically every single other system in the game. Changing things could be a massive benefit to both IC and OOC gameplay and culture.

I agree with some of these ideas, but not all of them.

1. Yes, it's redundant to have farming rules around NPC dipping when it's already capped by the weekly income system. When I played a dip, I used to receive farming warnings over this because I would front load my NPC dips to pull in weekly income and spread my PC dips out over the week because, frankly, it takes work to find PCs that have anything worth stealing.

2. I think you're right that on the surface, dipping in particular causes people to travel light. However, I think the deeper issue is risk aversion in a general sense. If we limit dipping to a point where mugging is the de facto means of ripping people off, it won't change the fact that people travel light - it will only make mugging the primary reason that people do it.

I do agree it's a more risk oriented task though. At least until you factor in disguise combined with other (I think) standard exploitations of IC systems. A set of bedsheets and knowing where to take your target basically leaves them helpless and unable to identify you.

3. Identifying a dip attempt is harder when compounded with another skill which I won't list here. That skill also uses a stat that isn't related to dipping in a hard coded way. It isn't necessarily that players are failing a dip check alone. I assume the standard dip PC is using two skills and failing a check on the first one, thereby making checks harder to succeed on the second. There's chrome out there to mitigate this stacking bonus, and IC exploration can lead players to uncover what stats they need to counter it natively.

That being said, deep-statted dips don't need that support skill to dupe most PCs. And that's where, for me, RP becomes super fun on a dip. Rolling up in a club and knowing you're good enough to rip people off while you have a conversation with them, in a crowded room is hella fun. Using dip skills to shift items around from person to person to pass suspicion or blame on someone else is super fun. Dipping as a skill can be used to earn money in fun and public ways too, like charging people to see a magic show. Limiting the number of dips per day can cut off the potential for these kinds of things.

As an alternative to limiting the number of dips per week, I suggest putting a weekly cap on hard chyen dips against PCs. 10 or 15k maybe. Something in line with standard automated income. This will force dips to pick something other than easy flash. We might not like it when someone dips our proggie or a quickterm, but it still requires RP to turn that into flash. There's at least one other person involved in the RP if you need to fence something to get the hard currency.

4. Dipping helmets/larger items etc. might feel immersion breaking, but so is carrying them in your pockets in the first place. If we say dips can't pick these items, we may as well say they're too big to fit in your inventory and you have to hold them in your hand or wear them so everyone sees you have it. Also, dipping these kinds of items without being caught requires investment in yet another stat that I won't mention.

5. It's been a minute since I played a dip, but I'm pretty sure dipping someone in combat isn't possible at present. Aiming though...I'm not sure I've tried that. If it's possible then I think it should stay that way. If a dip wants to spit in an aggressor's face like that and the target doesn't notice, that's a solid flex. Smug city, baby. Get good, son.

Ratchet, you illustrate why I like the skill and don't want it deleted very well.

However I think the reality of the situation is that entirely way too many people with the skill use it to farm at times idiotic levels of personal wealth with extremely little risk. If that's the game we want to play, I'm okay with that, but there's many, many checks against doing that very same thing in most other areas of the game.

I don't want to get into disguise meta, but I'm going to be very blunt here. Mugging someone's wallet over dipping it is vastly superior in basically every single metric I care to talk about. You're interacting with people. You're creating RP that people can respond and react to. You're leaving identifiable information about yourself and allowing people to build case files and push law enforcement RP that is often extremely lacking. You're also giving the victim the ability to play the victim, build sympathy, make allies and etc.

Mugging someone lets you tell stories both as the attacker and as the victim. I would argue it's pretty close to peak theme crime RP.

Dipping is literally none of those things. You don't need to spend 2 years to make a god tier dip, because you can half-ass shit and still pass all your checks by targeting immies, causing them to booth or to quit out of very understandable bleed. The skill is too easy, too safe, and way, way too non-interactive.

My suggestion for limiting dipping item types isn't because I want to stifle RP, it's because I don't want people using one verb while shrouded and sneaking to suddenly make 25K chen with zero risk and zero recourse. I'm also conscious of the fact the game is overly geared to combat goons and my suggestion for changing dipping isn't great in that regard, but really, the kinds of shit you can do with dipping can be some of the most toxic and abusive gameplay in the game, and I think it's high time we had a serious discussion about that.

All of those things you mentioned that bring RP to a mugging victim can be done if a dip PC puts a little thought into it instead of taking advantage of an easy cash grab. Still, I suspect the lack of RP there is also a symptom of risk aversion RP.

I want to add that there are ways to track some dip actions even if you never see them commit the crime. Like I said, dipping items other than chy require a fence. Fences and their friends could become targets for a PC that is intent on hunting down a dip - or at least recovering/replacing what was stolen. Even if you don't find the dip, you create RP and possibly recoup your losses by making targets out of the people that might be doing biz with them. The net around the dip holds the potential for RP even if the dip isn't directly creating it for someone.

But in general I agree, Talon. I wish dip PCs were more inclined to use the skill creatively to generate RP. I see it less as an issue with the skill itself and more to do with the players using it. I get what you mean though. The way most people seem to play dips is in line with the rules, but not the spirit of the game.

One other thing. If I remember correctly, dips are subject to the same immy targeting rules as combatants. You can't dip them until they have their 2 weeks time in city or do something that revokes that protection early.

That said, I remember being a new player. I felt like an immy for WAY longer than two weeks. Getting dipped regularly was not a feel good even a few months into the game.

That time isn't 2 weeks anymore, it's 12 hours. At least according to the front page of the website.

You also lose coded dipping protection for doing a lot of very common activities, but that's a different discussion. Coded protection isn't a fix for the problem of the skill allowing you to treat players like walking ATMs when treating players as walking ATMs in literally every other situation is an activity that can get you suspended from the game.

12 hours. Wow. Yeah I didn't know that. That's too short imo. But yeah we're on the same page with the ATM comparison. Just different ideas on how to address it.

I think you might be overestimating how easy it is to make money dipping. PCs tend to leave valuables at home. Even cheap progias. If someone carries something valuable, you have to either know about it or get lucky.
Toward the end of my last character's tenure, I was able to bring in 50-60k a week between NPC/PC flash and items when I had time/care enough to put the effort in. It was rare that I had the motivation to do it, but easily achievable the few times I did. I almost pushed a hundred kay in a week once. I don't feel like I'm overestimating it. At least not when that character was fairly deep-statted in the skill.

I do have a feeling that the change to progias hurt that margin though. Progia 9s and 11s fence for much more than the current all around progia.

50-60k per week, on top of the weekly cap, on top of a normal job, is a huge amount of money.
The ability to make money with dipping is beyond broken, and it's a 'if you know, you know' sort of thing.

It scales directly with game playerbase and activity, which is sorta a weird balancing thing. That said, when things are going on around the game, it's very easy to make 50k a week dipping.

Especially considering that dipping someone's helmet or weapon can immediately put like 10-20K in your wallet for a single verb and skill check.

50-60k includes the weekly cap and I didn't have an automated job on that character for the last...year or more. At least.

Is it just me or is that just - way above the norm? I can't say I've ever pulled similar numbers.
It also should be mentioned that you can dip 20K a week off NPC's in full compliance of game rules and help farming rules, provided that you're also being a shitlord and mass dipping players.

Help farming tells people to do this as an example of how to be in compliance with the rules.

So consider the fact that you can dip 10K cash, plus a 'big item' worth as much or more from NPCs on top of the fact you can easily dip the same amount or far more off players.

If people were mugging 20K or 40K a week off players and NPC's instead of dipping them, you'd see such a massive and immediate culture shift that you'd get whiplash. For a long time this was very normal mix activities and the game prospered because of it. Medics, cyberdocs, solos, gangers, and syndicate players were getting absolutely mobbed with content on a daily basis. It was very fun.

I think those numbers are also from a time where people loitering outside and in bars were much more common. However, there is something to be said about what dips extracting that amount of money from the player base every week did to contribute to that being much more rare in the past few years.
I was online regularly, often hours at a time during peak RP numbers, kept abreast of major scheduled RP events, and was attentive and ready to take advantage of events that happen spontaneously too.

And for current dips, there are all sorts of ways you can give hints and RP without straight up giving yourself away. Leave calling cards. Step out of the crowd and taunt someone before disappearing again. Do it in the open if you want to be bold. Pose that you bump into someone and apologize then dip them as you walk away. Buy somebody a drink with flash you just took out of their pocket. Or better yet, dip someone and then give them a job. Pay them with what you just robbed them of. Put out flyers for retrieval services - we need more people hiring dips (and plants) for targeted work to help pull them away from the ATM style gaming. Finding people to hire a dip was hard for me, but way exciting when it happened.

I don't think being a dip is easy or overpowered. There are ways to defend against them with the right stat investment or equipment and if they go after the wrong target they risk suffering because of it.
I will say I kind of hate this thread. Everyone keeps discussing dip strategies and tricks which makes them really obvious. For example, discussing bumping a player and then dipping them. Now everyone is going to know exactly what you are doing and very unlikely to play along without immediately typing count or digging through their inventory. This pushes dips into doing exactly what you don't want them to do in my humble opinion.

Also, 60k a week? Amazing. I've never clocked a fraction of that a week. Am I the fringe case or are you?

You would be incorrect in your analysis, Necronex.

I can't say more without going into details, but the UE investment to make the skill a chyen dispenser is not nearly as large as people think it is, and there's a major issue with the way the detection system works that's symptomatic of the way contested checks in the game work as a whole.

It takes specialized stats and skills to be able to spot dipping with any regularity, barring there just being a gigantic UE gap between characters.

In hindsight, I agree, Mindhunter. Sorry about that. I'd edit it out if I could.

Talking about making 60,000c a week from dipping is practically agitprop at this stage, and is referring to a period in the game when the levels of player wealth were insane (I made 350,000c through non-dipping mechanics in the same period). The game is not like that now, and it's not really relevant to the subject of theft which is not overpowered in the slightest. Making an unseen theft check is literally, not subjectively but literally, the most complex skill check in the game with the most number of factors.
I did mention I've been out of the dip game for a bit and referenced the old progia system as a frame of reference. I don't know what it's like now and can only speak to my past experience. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
I'm not guessing, Talon. Investing in the relevant areas to defend against dips is one of the first things I do on any character I'm playing. I don't want to spill secrets and ruin the experience for characters who have that skill though. I won't go into how long it takes but I think it's a reasonable amount of time for not having to deal with getting your pockets raided everytime you step outside.
It's all good! I just don't want players getting chyen signs in their eyes and getting absolutely crushed by the reality. It's kind of a feature of BGBB that best case scenarios by extremely good players get held up as typical and have new players scurrying towards chemistry or mechanics or piloting or what have you, and left feeling they're terrible at the game or very behind the curve.
I agree with Necronex666. If a player doesn't want their character as susceptible to dips, then build them in such a way. The problem, in my eyes, is that players are happy to invest UE into defending against attacks, to fight or to do things like art, medicine or mechanics. But for some reason they want protection from dipping for free without having to invest in it.

I have nothing against min-maxing or heavily specializing. I do have an issue with players doing so then calling foul when they find that their character is very susceptible to certain game mechanics they chose not to build for.

I will agree that 'stopping' very skilled dips will take a significant investment. But the same can be said for fighting. And I haven't seen any players hop on the boards saying that they think all the solo and bruiser types should be limited to three uses of attack per day and can only loot small items and only some of them and can only attack the same person once a day.

I also disagree with many of the ascertains made here. I'll try hit them all and be brief.

Dipping is the reason characters don't carry things

It's a reason. Or part of the reason. Not the reason. I don't even think it's the biggest reason. Mugging, tolls, and general violence and death tend to be a more common reason in my experience.

Dipping chases characters away from social hubs

Maybe sometimes for some. But I have seldom had a character be told that the reason they aren't going to the bar is because they might be dipped. I do hear tolling, bounties, solos hunting them, bombs and the like far more often. But that's just my personal experience and I get that it will be different for some.

Encouraged to dip other PCs

Yep. You're also encouraged to betray, mug, rob and murder other PCs. People adjust their builds and gameplay to combat those to some degree. I suggest the same thing be done when it comes to dips. Further, in my experience, the damage done via dipping doesn't hold a candle to the damage done via mugging, murder and, worst of all, gossip.

Dipping, largely, is not interactive

This is the same complaint people have when they get mugged or killed without lots of posing and talk before and during. While I do think it's a great idea to try and push RP and story when dipping (just as I do when it comes to combat, mugging, killing), I would never say it should be required.

Further, and these are the same arguments that apply to mugging and killing, there is RP. You just might not see it or be the focus of it. Further, if players give room for RP that is more than your character winning and making the dip their bitch maybe, over time, dips will be encouraged to interact more during their activities.

Dipping is low risk compared to mugging and other means of making money

Not in my experience. You can do a lot to mitigate risk but if you want risk free money making, I can think of many other paths that are, in my experience, far more lucrative and with far less risk.

Making 50-60k per week as a dip / Ability to make chyen via dipping is beyond broken

That is impressive. But one can do the same as a mugger, tailor, cyberneticist, candyman and many other roles. I imagine the player who pulled this off had a very active week when they managed these pulls. Just like any other character, a dip would have to seriously hustle to pull this off. Apply that same time and work to any role you're likely to get similar results.

10k in cash plus a big ticket item

Dips, by the current farming guidelines, would need to dip several NPCs to do this. They would have to also dip a similar number of PCs. This caries a lot of risk and the reward from PC targets is often disappointing. 'loot' a dip typically gets off of a PC target.

Based on the concerns mentioned, dips should be crazy rich

I would love it if staff could check the wealth of 'dip' characters and compare it to the wealth of other characters. If thievery is so broken as is suggested here, it seems to me that dips should be the richest players in the game by far. And while I doubt staff has ever done a direct comparison as described here, I do know they monitor PC wealth and if some character was making way, way more money than the rest they would look into it.

Dips, by the current farming guidelines, would need to dip several NPCs to do this.

To put it mildly! Every NPC in the entire game combined probably doesn't have this much pocket change on them outside of game-y situations where they have a huge amount from getting payments the player knows about. The average pickpocket against an NPC is around ~0 chyen.

I really agree with all the points Grey0 has made, put all my thoughts into words better than I could.

My only issue is I wish all players of dips would put some effort into RPing a bit of the dipping or any RP at all with the victim. I think it'd be helpful. And definitely when doing it towards new characters/players.

Otherwise I don't have a problem with dipping and I think there's bigger issues with the extreme smallworlding that happens against PCs with those skills and historical trend of extreme response to them compared to other victim-having acts.

I agree with the excessive response being a problem and I think other issues raised here are really a consequence of that. Players 100% know that a young dip is going to be weak on combat skills by virtue of their investment and will, historically, come down on them like a dropped piano in response to the most benign thefts.

I don't fully understand the psychology involved but you will see players harbour more negative feelings towards having their wallets stolen than being killed outright and losing everything, I assume a factor is the aforementioned element where it feels 'valid' to players to be killed by someone with better combat kills, whereas it feels like thefts are trespasses by characters who should be beneath them.

Severe responses to thievery train dips to both 1) do it only when they can be absolutely sure the skill roll will perfectly pass (ie. overstat their marks dramatically) and 2) make sure there absolutely nothing that could tie them to the act (ie. no roleplaying, no follow-up, more extreme stat discrepancies).

Alternatively they get caught, die a few times and perm, and their next character just murders people instead for their gear which is much easier and more socially acceptable to the community, but IC and OOC.

Excessive response is a major problem and I think should be a major concern for any and all even thinking about dipping.

I really can't stress this firmly enough: I would like to see buffs to dipping, because it does have a lot if issues both big and small. But we also have to talk about the lack of balance the skill has, if we want to talk about making the dip life better. I get we got carried away talking about the golden oldies like a bunch of geriatrics, but that doesn't change the fact that those things are possible, and that mechanical possibility hasn't changed in the years since.

As the game appears to be growing back to a more lively state, at least by a numbers standpoint, invariably people are going to quit being so sleepy and these ugly truths have the potential to rear their head again. Admittedly, I might be getting stuck too much in the theory than I am the practice.

Also want to point out that the whole 'you can't make money dipping NPC's' thing is factually incorrect and is a player skill issue. If you're not making money off NPC's it's because you are, quite simply, doing it wrong. There are NPC's that are specifically built to support NPC mugging and NPC dipping that carry cash and valuable items. Perhaps if there was a mechanical rate limit on the verb, staff would feel empowered to be able to open up the NPC cash availability and make them a bit more available than what they are.

It could also be an issue of the back end systems being futzed around by other outside factors, or as is sometimes the case, the code being broken for months/years and nobody realizing because we play a game so opaque it makes the Mississippi river look like Evian.

I think you're tilting at windmills on this one. Not everything is whistle blowing on uncomfortable truths, these are just normal parts of the game that are being normally, if a bit too rarely. The fact that players must come to grips with is this: The alternative to being stolen from wasn't being not stolen from, it was dying.

Not being mugged and losing your poncho. Dead and to Genetek. I say this because players are coddled and this creates an atmosphere that invites even more players that prefer the superficial elements of the theme and not the reality, and the problem grows worse and worse. There needs to be more loss and fear and distribution of wealth from pay cheques to someone's stuff being hawked for ten cents on the dollar.

And my preference for this is death, for players to feel afraid to be out on the streets of Red and to invest deeply in stealth or disguise or vehicles in order to offset this, but I am willing for theft to serve as a much lighter touched alternate while players are eased out of the bar RP hugbox they've grown accustomed to like boiling frogs.

So no I don't agree theft is broken, either in a mechanical theory-crafting sense or in the practical reality. If anything it is not popular enough and what amount of it does happen now I see serving an important theme-enforcing function amongst players who will happily disregard it otherwise.

Completely, categorically false and frankly 0x1mm, you damn well know better than to be spreading that kind of harmful and toxic misinformation. Risk adversity is a global problem, but doing shit like calling players barRP hugbox players does absolutely nothing to address that and makes you sound bitter and entitled.

If you think losing your stuff outside of dipping needs neck snaps you're lost in the sauce and need to go touch grass. In fact, it's blatantly against game rules to go around neck snapping people for loot. You can, and will be suspended and/or banned for doing it. Unless you're a thief, in which case farming people for money is a perfectly great and balanced thing.

I think you're speaking from your own biases here, because what you're saying isn't in alignment with your other well informed beliefs about balance in the game and what substantive changes could be made to promote interactivity and develop crime-centric plot threads.

Yeah I gotta throw in my opinion that theft seems just fine. I don't think there's an over reaction to it, either. Mix is full of dips, and full of people who hate dips, just part of it. Take a risk, the reward is the story. If someone's going around dipping for 60k a week with no RP involved, fuck 'em. They're gonna burn out playing like that, and if they're breaking rules then staff will catch them. Live and let live (or die), play your role and do it for the story. I don't often post because of how heated they can get but I really wanna say that the most fun I get out of playing is when I play to the mechanics, and not try to let the mechanics take over. I love a game where someone else makes the rules, because playing to your own rules takes any fun out of it. I know this discussion is nuanced so not meaning to shut anyone down or limit the scope of the issues you all bring up. I think theft is great, I've been playing for four or so and I've never experienced it being overpowered or destroying my characters livelihood. I've attempted at playing dip PC's and given up because frankly I found it too difficult. Everyone has their own experience.
Four years or so* ... also don't post a lot because posts can't be edited.
I'd rather be dipped a few times a day than mugged for all I've got and killed once a week. A clone alone is probably a larger financial loss than what I'd likely lose in dips over the course of a week. Add whatever else I might have, clothes etc. + memory loss + losing like what? 20 minutes of play time waiting to clone out? Or however long the death scroll is. I could consistently walk outside with 1-2k flash every day of the week and get dipped a few times and my personal OOC emotional cost and IC financial costs are likely going to be less than being vatted once and losing everything on me.

I think it's important to note too, that dips are limited in their actions in one other very important way too. Or they were when I played one. I doubt it's changed but I notice that this farming factor in particular is not listed in help farming or help pickpocket, so I'm not sure if I can share it here. I personally think it's the strongest balancing factor that players have against dips though.

I've been informed that this bit of info was talked about in OOC chat last night and is fine to share. Dips can't dip the same PC more than once in a single day.
This is true, Logic, however I don't know to what extent that rule actually gets enforced, or if it's more of a suggestion or guideline than it is a hard rule.

I know for a fact I've been dipped of 5-6 items over the course of a couple hours by a single individual before, and I also know nothing was done about that, despite that supposed rule existing. The person in question would, in fact, quite loudly brag about repeatedly chain dipping my character on public SIC.

So I don't know how well the reality of that thing you are talking about lines up with what actually happens sometimes.

In contemporary times, I've been noticing getting very aggressively dipped by what I suspect is probably a coded system, which I am being intentionally vague about. I want to assume that it's the coded system and not players, because people repeatedly dipping my character or being hit by numerous dips seems contrary to what Mench has said about the rate of players actually doing it being low.

If that's the case then I strongly suggest that a serious lockout timer be added to that system based on the individual, because lately I've been getting dipped 3-4 times in as many hours. If we really think that simply deleting players resources for interacting with and existing in public game spaces is good for the game, well, I simply don't know what to tell the people who think that's a good idea.

We can't, as players, sit here and bitch incessantly about the game being stale and people not going out and RPing and the public world being dead, and then not also call out the very systems and player activity that drives people out of these public spaces and harms the potential for other, diverse forms of RP.

I really don't think that this is such a hard thing to understand, and I can't understand why this isn't a more perfectly obvious thing for more people.

You damn well know better than to be spreading that kind of harmful and toxic misinformation.

I mean, do I? I've never shied away from the fact my stance is radical and hardline towards player conflict and that I view canting too deeply towards soft touch social play as detrimental to the genre. My experience is that players say they'll be adverse to going out, or that they'll just leave if it's too much, but the reality is that people are mostly talk and no walk. Players continue to go out and socialize whatever the risks or costs because they crave it, and many (even perhaps most) of them would prefer it was easier but the truth is when its harder for them it elevates their play and strengthens the theme and refines players who wouldn't otherwise rise to the effort.

Iirc any dip attempt pings the dip with a message to remind them of this. It isn't a suggestion. If you know of anyone doing this, please xhelp staff about it.
And for what it's worth, I advocate for a very hardline position but it's not being reflected in my actual play except in a cosmetic way. I'm not looking to victimize characters personally or revel in anyone's individual losses which I am sympathetic towards.

My stance that players need to be stolen from, in lieu of being mugged or killed, is a general average across everyone, over a long period of time. I recognize that players can take hard beats in individual circumstances and they deserve graciousness after.

I just wanna say that people keep leveling the 'your reward is the story' in response to getting things stolen, when my experience has just not made that the case. You go out with something, you come back without it. What's engaging about that?

You don't get a breadcrumb to chase 99% of the time. You just lose something. You don't get to wake up at the vats and wonder what happened. You don't have chooms worried if you're doing okay because you just died and are now some thing in a meat suit and the memories of the person before, you just suddenly don't have something you had before.

You might have an entire plot or storyline behind why you have an item and then a dip pushes a button and since their entire character is built around this one or two checks, they're probably going to succeed it and everything you did for that thing stops mattering.

The game is storytelling at the large scale, but not everything will be telling your story necessarily. Sometimes you're going to be punctuation in someone else's sentence, and whether any given thing other people do is part of your eventual story is not always going to be clear at the time it happens.

Also not everything is storytelling, there is a competitive aspect where characters are competing between one another for resources. You may have a lucrative job whereas a thief's job is to liberate some of your lucre, which you are really not intended to accumulate without obstruction. Having things taken from you is, in some sense, a major purpose of the existence of things.

The competitive aspect is what people are talking about addressing in here, but then there's arguments being used about storytelling to defend it, except that we're not interested in storytelling and we want the competitive aspect instead.

What?

I'm saying not every story is your story, you may be the deuteragonist in a mini-drama of that great score someone had, or you might've just been the unlucky donor to Withmore's teeming criminal enterprise.

Players should get pretty comfortable with the idea that they're going to be killed and robbed and stolen from, sometimes for no apparent reason. It's part of the game. It really doesn't have to make sense, because there is nothing fair here, the only real requirements are that players follow the rules and, to a certain extent, they make some effort to tell stories -- but what those stories are and what they involve is going to look very different from player to player and not everyone is going to agree on what is valid.

But at the end of the day, validity is only measured by passing skill checks.

I've seen several comments about how players feel there's no interaction, nothing they can do about being dipped after the fact and how there's no breadcrumbs to follow. So I'm curious to know what you all picture here.

What kind of breadcrumbs would you like to see? What do you imagine characters doing would or should they follow that trail to the end? How is this lack supposed lack of breadcrumbs so very different from the lack of breadcrumbs many complain about in the many posts about dying?

Further, are your characters actually looking for those breadcrumbs? How hard? Are they engaging other PCs and NPCs in preventative and investigative ways? Or do they decide that the loss wasn't great enough to warrant the time and resources to try and follow possible trails of breadcrumbs?

Further, suppose you want to also play a character built around a few skill checks and defending against stealthy and dippy types is something you chose not to invest in, as most of the player base seems to do. Have you looked into engaging other characters to help them deal with this lack?

Finally, It seem to me that there is a possible avenue of engagement between characters not being pursued much in this one specific area of the game. Why do we tell PCs who choose not to invest in fighting to hire a bodyguard instead of giving all characters free automatic protections against attacks but often seem to expect that PCs should get free automatic protections against theft?

I want to add that questions about what players would like to see in terms of interaction and/or breadcrumbs and how they imagine characters would or should act should they discover who the culprit is are the more important ones to me.

I am hoping that the responses to the first part might give dips ideas they can use in play and answers to the second part might encourage dips to interact more or help players understand why they might not choose to. Maybe both.

Of course, as I have said in discussions about how much muggings and deaths with little to no interaction between aggressor and victim, I don't think increased interaction should ever be forced. I would love to see more on both the mugging/killing front and the dipping front but get why it sometimes doesn't happen to the level a victim might want.